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Court attendance notices

Court attendance notices

A court attendance notice is a document that tells a person to attend court to answer a charge or in response to:

  • A claim against them
  • An application for an order against them

Some court attendance notices used to be called summonses.

What is in the notice?

Both court attendance notices:

  • State the charges or claims made against the person (the defendant)
  • State what court to go to, and when
  • Advise the person to seek legal advice (which should be done as soon as possible)

Getting legal advice

Anyone unable to afford a private solicitor should contact:

  • The Legal Aid Commission
  • A community legal centre
  • A chamber registrar at a Local Court, or
  • The LawAccess website

The document should not be ignored. If anything in it is unclear, legal advice should be sought.

Is there time to respond?

The notice must allow enough time for the defendant to prepare and file a response. If enough notice is not given, the defendant or their lawyer can (and should) attend the court on the day named and ask for the hearing to be postponed to another date.

If the person does not attend court

If a person does not attend court after receiving a court attendance notice the matter may proceed without them, and the other side may obtain the orders they seek in the defendant’s absence (this is called an ex parte offer)

If the notice was not received

A person who receives notice of an ex parte order against them who can prove that they did not at any stage receive a court attendance notice can apply to have the order set aside and the matter heard again.

It is usually up to the plaintiff or applicant (the person who started the proceedings) to prove that the notice was served. The defendant may also produce evidence that they were, for example, overseas or interstate at the time and could not have received the notice.

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